The Purge of the Kremlin Chairmen

In recent months, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has moved against some of the most powerful men in the Kremlin: the ministers and deputy ministers who chair Russia's state-owned companies. But the purge may reflect other goals than improving the investment climate.

MOSCOW – In recent days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has moved against some of the most powerful men in the Kremlin, including Igor Sechin, a deputy prime minister who is perhaps the closest figure to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – and who is also the chairman of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil firm. A decree signed by Medvedev with the stated purpose of improving the country’s investment climate will strip Sechin and others of their chairmanships of some of Russia’s biggest state-owned companies. But the purge may reflect other, more important goals.

Medvedev has in the past recognized both the need to attract Russian and foreign investment and the country’s dismal investment climate. But this time his actions truly matched his rhetoric, as he outlined specific measures to be taken and set deadlines for implementing them. And, with some of the measures bound to face stiff opposition by powerful interest groups, the reforms are set to be a major test of Medvedev’s real strength – and of his plans to run for another term as president. Even partial success would allow a Medvedev re-election campaign to be built around themes of anti-corruption and transparency.

Corruption and government accountability are probably the single most important issues for Medvedev’s electoral base among Russia’s rising middle class and “protest” voters. The ruling United Russia party’s recent poor performance in regional elections show that the electorate is fed up with the status quo and is ready to vote for an alternative.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/OmLfe0y;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.